How you could save on your energy bill

Consumer Focus and Energy UK are urging consumers to take one simple step to call their energy supplier and find out how much they could save on their energy bills - by better insulating their home and checking they are on the best tariff or payment method.

By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
January 18, 2012, 8:13 am

The call comes during Big Energy Week, as millions of people are missing out on easy ways to make big savings for little or no cost. Taking advantage of free or discounted loft and cavity wall insulation offered by energy suppliers can save consumers an average £120 off their bill every year and switching to direct debit alone could save around a further £100 each year.

Updated Government figures show that 9.6 million homes don’t have enough loft insulation and 7.8 million do not have enough cavity wall insulation – that’s one in every four homes.

Every major supplier is offering free or cut price deals for loft and cavity wall insulation, yet not enough people are claiming these deals. Currently 100,000 households are taking up these deals each month when some 200,000 households could be taking advantage of them.

New Consumer Focus research also shows that millions of people would benefit from insulation and switching tariff or payment type, as the majority of consumers don’t think their home is as energy efficient as it could be or that they are on the cheapest deal.

Key findings of the Consumer Focus research show that:

- Two-thirds of consumers are not fully confident that their home is as energy efficient as it could be. Yet seven out of 10 of these consumers don’t plan to do anything to improve the energy efficiency of their home in the next year

- Almost half (47%) of consumers don’t know how thick the insulation in their loft is – so they don’t know whether it should be improved

- Over a third (35%) are unaware that suppliers offer free or discounted insulation which anyone can claim, and that the scheme is paid for out of customers’ bills

- Two- thirds of consumers see paying around a £200 one-off fee for home insulation as a good investment as it will save at least £100 off their bill every year

- Only one in five people are fully confident that they are on the best deal that their energy supplier offers

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus, said: ‘Millions of consumers are finding it hard to afford higher energy bills and every penny that can be saved counts. “Yet many people are paying more than they need to because their home is leaking heat and they aren’t on the cheapest deal. Yet with one simple call to their energy firm many customers could make big savings on their bill.

‘Changing to a cheaper tariff or payment type can cut your costs. Many people also don’t realise that energy companies offer free or discounted insulation –and it’s a waste not to take advantage of these offers which could shave well over £100 off your bill every year.’

Christine McGourty, Director at Energy UK, said: ‘Energy companies offer a wide range of help and advice and we’re urging people to get in touch with them and make sure they’re not missing out. By taking advantage of the offers of free or subsidised insulation, you can help keep your house warm for less. Big Energy Week is a great opportunity to see what simple steps you can take that could make a big difference.

We know household budgets are stretched, but the companies are working hard to provide customers with the help they need, so don’t hesitate to ask.’

The six major energy firms have made a commitment to help customers find out more about insulating their homes and whether they are on the best deal their supplier offers.

If you call your supplier and ask about ways to save money, now they should alert you to free and discounted insulation deals they offer, the availability of cheaper deals, or both.

This is a welcome move as almost seven out of 10 people surveyed by Consumer Focus said they would be likely to switch tariff or payment type if their supplier told them they could be on a cheaper deal.

Energy customers can speak directly to their energy firm about the free or discounted insulation and other energy efficiency measures they may be able to offer you under the CERT scheme, and to find out if they could be on a cheaper tariff or payment type. The contact details for each supplier are below.

British Gas – 0800 980 8177
E.ON – 0800 479 0162
EDF Energy – 0800 096 9966
npower – 0800 02 22 20
0845 2 700 700
SSE – 0800 072 7201

People can also contact the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336699 or Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012 for advice on saving energy and grants and schemes available to help make your home warmer and save you money.

Tags: money, energy, prices

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